Philadelphia Phillies Expert Roundtable: Opening Weekend Reactions
By Nick Galaida
Though the Philadelphia Phillies have played only three games out of 162 on their 2023 MLB schedule, our experts have plenty of thoughts based on what they saw during their opening series against the Texas Rangers.
Each week our staff will share their weekly insights into the team, offering their perspective on the state of the organization, and highlighting what they are looking forward to in the week ahead.
Below, Nick Galaida and Justin DiVirgilio offer their takeaways from the opening weekend of action.
Nick Galaida - Phillies' approach at the plate an early red flag
Putting aside the obvious fact that Philadelphia was swept over the weekend, the more concerning aspect of their losses was their approach at the plate.
In three games, the Phillies ranked 22nd out of 30 teams in baseball, swinging at 34.1% of pitches that they saw outside of the strike zone. On more-hittable pitches in the strike zone, they ranked worse than the league average in contact percentage.
Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler are likely to figure things out sooner rather than later. The bullpen will be better than it was this weekend. The larger question looming for this team in 2023 -- can they exhibit good plate discipline and manage to score runs with Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins out of the lineup?
The early answer is no. Here is to hoping that the upcoming week washes away these worries.
Justin DiVirgilio - Have patience
The Phillies are three games into the season and it hasn’t gone as planned thus far -- getting swept by the Rangers. It is only the second time since 2007 and the first time since 2016, that the ball club began a season 0-3.
The first two games were legitimately the two worst outcomes imaginable for the reigning National League champions, especially with expectations for the franchise at their highest levels since 2009. Thankfully it’s a long season and there is plenty of time for the Phillies to help us forget this past weekend's losses to the Rangers, particularly the first two games.
Still, Philadelphia's pitching allowed 29 runs during opening weekend -- a concern as they head up north to the Bronx where they will take on the New York Yankees.
Have patience. Hopefully, we will not endure too many series similar to the one against Texas.
On Monday, the Phillies will begin a three-game series against the New York Yankees, who won two out of three games against the San Francisco Giants over the weekend. After that, Philadelphia will return home for a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds to begin a six-game homestand.
Taijuan Walker will make his Phillies' debut this evening in The Bronx against Nestor Cortes. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on NBC 10. The marquee matchup of the series between these passionate east coast sports cities is on Thursday with Aaron Nola and Gerrit Cole going head-to-head.